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The University of Tennessee

The College of Veterinary Medicine

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Clinical » Small Animal Clinical » Anesthesia F.A.Q.S.


Frequently Asked Questions


  • What happens when your pet undergoes anesthesia?
    • Prior to anesthesia, your pet will undergo a physical examination, and some special tests may be ordered.

      Fact: Pre-anesthetic tests help us assess the overall health of the patient and may include many of the same tests that a person may have prior to anesthesia, such as blood work, radiographs, ECG! (photo of a dog getting an ECG)
    • After careful examination of the patient, the record, and the laboratory results, an anesthetic protocol is planned. (photo of faculty with student and technician, record and patient.)
    • Once the protocol is approved, the patient is brought to the anesthesia holding area for observation and pre-medication.
    • Patients are observed continuously while the pre-medication is taking affect.
    • Once adequately sedated, an intravenous catheter is aseptically placed into a leg vein to allow administration of intravenous anesthetic drugs, analgesic drugs, intravenous fluids, and drugs that support the cardiovascular system while the patient is under anesthesia (a photo of dog showing good signs of pre-medication, with third eyelid prolapse, having an intravenous catheter placed)
    • The patient is pre-oxygenated, and drugs to induce a state of general anesthesia and analgesia are administered intravenously (photo of a dog with a face mask receiving oxygen as someone is injecting propofol?)
    • Once the patient is under anesthesia, a tube is placed in the trachea (windpipe) to allow the administration of oxygen and anesthetic agent to maintain a state of general anesthesia (photo of endotracheal intubation)

      Fact: Many of the drugs that are used on your pet during anesthesia are the same drugs that humans receive during anesthesia!
    • If special techniques for analgesia are required, these are usually performed at this time (i.e. photo of epidural site with the sterile drape and an epidural needle placed for injection)

      Fact: Your pet may have more areas of shaved hair than you would expect, if special analgesic techniques, such as epidural analgesia, are performed!
    • During anesthesia, a senior (4th year) student working under supervision constantly monitors the status of your animal (photo of patient with blood pressure monitoring, SpO2, ETCO2, ECG monitoring with anesthesia student)
    • Careful observation and recording of body temperature, heart rate, heart rhythm, blood pressure, respiratory rate, and depth of breathing occurs from pre-medication until the end of recovery.

      Fact: Monitoring and supportive care of patients undergoing anesthesia in the VTH is similar to the monitoring and supportive care that people receive in a human hospital!
    • During recovery, your pet will be monitored continuously until he/she is completely conscious and body temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, and respiratory rate have returned to normal
    • You pet is also monitored closely for signs of post-operative pain, and treated as required. (Photo of patient being monitored in recovery)
    • Your pet should be monitored closely for several days for normal return of appetite, water intake, urination, and defecation.
      Fact: It is normal for your pet to be moderately sedate if he or she is sent home the day of the anesthetic episode. If your pet is more than mildly sedated the day after anesthesia, or is not eating, drinking, urinating, or defecating normally, you should call the VTH or your veterinarian!
  • Is your animal in pain?
    • Your pet should be monitored closely for several days for normal return of appetite, water intake, urination, and defecation.

 


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